The Best Airbnbs Outside of L.A.

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From desert ranches to coastal retreats, check out these vacation rentals for your next local getaway.

If the pandemic sparked within you a desire to hit the somewhat open roads, you’re not alone. But what are the nation’s top doctors saying? Well, basically, keep out of COVID-19’s way and stay home. But if that’s simply not an option, Golden State officials ask that you remember California’s travel mantra — R-E-S-P-E-C-T — as you enjoy its hotels, wineries, restaurants and other tourist destinations.

Vacationing in COVID times requires much more than an ounce of preparation and hand sanitizer. Gone are the days of taking carefree leaks in rest-stop bathrooms. At the top of every cautious traveler’s packing list are face masks, Costco-sized bins of disinfectant wipes and those awkward no-touch keychains.

For cabin-fevered Angelenos, a change of scenery “should be seen as a small treat,” says Dr. Monya De. When we spoke to the L.A. physician back in April, she advised drivers to avoid situations that might land them in a hospital and to bring plenty of water and snacks to avoid pit stops — and to set their car’s air conditioner to recirculated air to keep germs out. If you must travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends checking if coronavirus cases are on the rise at your destination. (If yes, maybe do not pass go.) If you plan to visit state beaches or parks along your route, check the Department of Parks and Recreation’s online resource center before you pull over.

Getting out of the state or country at the moment is a daunting prospect, and we understand. Between having to navigate around Delta variant hotspots, areas with cavalier attitudes toward masking and the prospect of being stuck abroad should a lockdown occur, it’s not a good scene for those with a traveler’s spirit. That being said, we are incredibly lucky to live in an area with such immediate access to different environments. Whether it’s the mountains calling, a relaxing seaside abode or a glamorous ranch, we have just the ticket to cure the traveling bug. Just make sure to keep masking up, be considerate and follow local advisories.

Overlooking a grove of Tuscan olive trees, this peaceful cottage is mere minutes away from downtown SLO, the Edna Valley wine region and Pismo Beach.

1. San Luis Obispo: Peaceful Cottage Overlooking an Olive Grove
This over-100-year-old cottage will give you a taste of ranch life in San Luis Obispo. Lovingly restored by its artist owners — they crafted the hand-blown glass lamps in the living room — the two-bedroom home features a picturesque back deck that overlooks a grove of 1,500 Tuscan olive trees. The home sits on a 50-acre property that’s about 15 minutes from downtown SLO, the Edna Valley wine region and Pismo Beach, to name a few nearby destinations. You can also take a one-hour trip up Highway 1 to Hearst Castle or drive another hour to Big Sur. Rates: $145 per night; book on Airbnb.

This Carpinteria cottage is just a few steps from sand and sea, restaurants and shops.

2. Carpinteria: Exquisite Beach Cottage
A bright coastal respite awaits at this one-bedroom Carpinteria cottage. Whether you’re here for a romantic hideaway or a solo writing retreat, you’ll be greeted with white marble countertops, ocean-inspired decor and a bar-height kitchen counter that’ll inspire some indulgent R&R. Bonus: It’s a two-minute walk from the sand and sea, restaurants and shops. Rates: at $230 per night; book on Airbnb.

Red Barn Happy House

3. Ojai: Red Barn Happy House
If your vacation prerequisites include access to a baby grand piano, a tennis court and hiking trails, the Red Barn Happy House won’t disappoint. This charming two-bedroom home is located 7 miles outside of bohemian Ojai and sits at the border of Los Padres National Forest. The 8-acre property boasts a covered porch, a patio, a basketball half-court and a pickleball court, to name a few outdoor amenities. It’s also home to chickens who are apparently welcome to visitors. Rates: Starting at $334 per night; book on Airbnb.

This lakeside lodge makes for a cozy winter getaway at Big Bear Lake.

4. Big Bear Lake: Piñon Lodge
This four-bedroom lakeside lodge in Big Bear is great for families. The cozy living room, deck and sloped backyard are just a few of its perks, and the hillside chalet also lies close to ski resorts and quaint boutiques and restaurants at Big Bear Village. Rates: $235 per night; book on VRBO.

For a perfect and intimate getaway, consider the “Love Nest” at Genuine Draft Ranch in Morongo Valley.

5. Morongo Valley: The Love Nest at Genuine Draft Ranch
If Morongo Valley isn’t the first desert destination to come to mind, you might become a believer after posting up at this private, second-floor barn room with stunning views of Mt. San Jacinto. While nestled at the quirky Wild West-inspired Genuine Draft Ranch, you can enjoy a continental breakfast, grab a drink and play pool at the Draft Horse Saloon, take a ride on the 25-foot swing and visit Romeo, the resident burro. This spot also makes a convenient home base for day trips to Joshua Tree and Palm Springs, which are both a 20-minute drive away. Rates: $154 per night; book on Airbnb.

La Dulce Vita Lodge in Lake Arrowhead.

6. Lake Arrowhead: La Dulce Vita Lodge
Gaze upon Lake Arrowhead and the San Bernardino National Forest from this three-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin. There’s enough room for eight across three floors, which feature a loft area, two sitting decks and an airy living room with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer prime lake views. Rates: $224 per night; book on Airbnb.

Soak up the sun at this Idyllwild luxury cabin.

7. Idyllwild-Pine Grove: Luxury Cabin with Views and Deck
Relax in the shadow of the majestic Tahquitz Rock at this rustic-meets-modern mountainside getaway. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin features an open layout, vaulted ceilings and a sunny balcony where nature lovers can soak up the stunning views — and some vitamin D. Rates: Starting at $207 per night; book on Airbnb.

Lounge in midcentury luxe at this Palm Springs home.

8. Palm Springs: Midcentury Meets Modern
This 2,350-square-foot midcentury sanctuary in the Historic Tennis Club district has all of the luxuries you need for a high-end home away from home. Lounge by the saltwater pool as if you’re in a Slim Aarons photo, cook to your heart’s content in the well-stocked kitchen, or kick up your feet in the vintage-meets-modern living room. Book on The Plum Guide.

The Atomic Trailer Ranch is located just outside Joshua Tree National Park. The Ranch sits on 5 private acres and is surrounded by mountains and the Mojave Desert.

9. Joshua Tree: Atomic Ranch Artist Retreat
Eclectic is an understatement at this Joshua Tree retreat, which was designed with artists and creatives in mind. Whether you’re heading out for a socially distant family vacation or a getaway with friends who prefer to camp out, the 15-person-capacity property offers an outdoor fire pit, vintage-cool decor and five secluded acres to make you feel like you’re truly getting away from it all. Rates: Starting at $203 per night; book on VRBO.

Enjoy a slew of alfresco amenities at this San Diego property.

10. San Diego: Spanish Urban Oasis in North Park
This 1920s Spanish revival residence lies at the heart of hip and historic North Park, which is often referred to as San Diego’s Silver Lake. The two-bedroom house is a five-minute walk from coffee shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. In addition to stylish and spacious interiors, you can enjoy alfresco amenities, such as a rose garden, jacuzzi, outdoor shower and hammock, to name a few. Rates: Starting at $311 per night; book on Airbnb.

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